Beautiful Furnishings, Expertly Fitted
| WOOD | LVT |
| BLINDS | SHUTTERS |
| FURNITURE |
To book a free measuring visit call
Flooring - 01672 513492
Furnishings - 01672 513491
Online - www.dandrfurnishers.co.uk
from the EDITOR
A Culinary Journey through
comfort food recipes
“There is something so special
in the early leaves drifting
from the trees–as if we are all
to be allowed a chance to peel,
to refresh, to start again.”
– Ruth Ahmed
There is something so special about
this time of year - it has a grounding
effect which forces us to consider
the passage of time and the tangible
changes around us. As the hues
of the trees shape our landscape,
we settle down into the embrace
of those cooler, darker evenings
- a sense of quietude before the
inevitable Christmas rush begins.
We hope this edition makes a good
companion to a cosy evening or
a peaceful morning with a cuppa.
We’ve filled it with interviews with
some titans of their fields - firstly, west
country expert baker (via France!)
Richard Bertinet and Chelsea seventime
gold medal winning garden
designer Adam Frost.
Our interview with
Editor Katie Thomson
Publisher Sally Thomson
Pre-Press Manager Kate Norris
Contributors Rebecca Rose, Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs
Angela Cave and Pete Lawrence. Front cover courtesy of Richard Bertinet
Key Account Manager Angela Cave
d/l 01225 984498
Planning for a
MINERVA PUBLICATIONS HQ
Paxcroft Farm, Hilperton
Trowbridge BA14 6JB
t 01225 984 550
visit our website www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Disclaimer: The publishers shall not be held liable for any loss occasioned by failure of an
advertisement to appear, or any damage or inconvenience caused by errors, omissions and
misprints. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission from the
publishers. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the publishers.
These lovely chats fall alongside
some delicious recipes and some
inspiration for the home and garden
- plus some advice on getting those
finances in order for retirement -
it’s never too early to start thinking
about it, nor to late to make an
assessment of where you are.
It wouldn’t be right to have an
edition without one of our most
popular pages - the competitions!
You can enter all the ones listed on
the page, plus some web-exclusives
at minervamagazines.co.uk - you
can also opt into being the first to
hear about new giveaways when
they are launched.
We are looking forward to seeing
you again in November, where we
will be unapologetically thrusting
you into the Christmas swing. Don’t
say I didn’t warn you! Until then,
take care and enjoy this issue.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 3
SAS hold free Auction Valuations by appointment
at our two premises or by video call:
“The market for good
quality collectables is
very strong and as a
specialist auction house
we can help sell your
Special Auction Services:
Nexus Park, Off Hambridge Road, NEWBURY RG14 5TR
or Tower Street, DUDLEY DY1 1NB
Call or email today 01635 580 595 | email@example.com
Thomas Forrester and
The Special Auction Team
would like to invite you for Free Auction
Valuations of your Jewellery, Watches,
Silver, Coins, Antiques and Collectables
01793 821303 | www.barnescoaches.co.uk
Fri 17th Sept 2021
4 Days: From £299pp
Mon 27th Sept 2021
5 Days: From £399pp
Thu 7th Oct 2021
4 Days: From £369pp
Sat 23rd Oct 2021
5 Days: From £489pp Contact our team on 01793 821303 to request a free
brochure and start planning your next adventure!
4 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
A a two-night stay
for two people at
To enter any (or all!) of our competitions, head to
Find the competition and enter on that post,
using the appropriate keyword.
T&C’s apply and no cash alternatives available. Winners chosen at
random - entries made after closing date will not be accepted.
Whittlebury Park, a four-star countryside hotel in
Northamptonshire, is nestled in hundreds of acres of tranquil
ancient parkland, making it the perfect destination to get away
from it all. It’s surrounded by a host of local attractions, from
lakeside walks at Stowe Gardens to designer retail therapy
at Bicester Village and thrilling history at the Silverstone
Terms and conditions: The prize is for a winner plus one guest. Prize
winner and guest must be aged 18 and over. Only one winner will be
drawn. The prize is non-transferable, non-refundable, non-exchangeable
and there are no cash alternatives. Cannot be used in conjunction with
any other offer or promotion. The prize is available Friday – Sunday. Valid
until 31 December 2021 excluding, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and
Bank Holiday Mondays. Full terms and conditions available on website.
Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition keyword ‘WHITTLEBURY’
WIN We are giving one
lucky reader the
The Ultimate chance to win
baby Starter the Ultimate
Pack! Starter Pack
from Kit & Kin,
brand co-founded by
Emma Bunton. Offering an
unbeatable bundle of ethical
baby essentials, the beautiful
collection of products is
bursting with everything a
new parent needs, night and
day, including the brand’s Eco Nappies, Biodegradable Wipes
and Nappy Sacks. The standout set also contains the heroes from
Kit & Kin’s range of 100% organic cotton babywear, including the
adorable Bunny Hat and super soft Alphabet All-in-One, as well as
a luxuriously snuggly Knitted Blanket and Sleeping Bag, to ensure
everyone gets the best ZZZ’s, naturally!
Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition keyword ‘BABYWEAR’
Ramekins & Wine offer
the wine takes
food is designed to
showcase its character
and deliver a true taste
sensation. We are giving readers
the chance to win a Home
Tasting Box for two people
which includes six specially
selected wines and perfectly
matched ramekins of food.
T’s and C’s: Three lucky winners
will enjoy a Home Tasting Box
for two people.
Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition
Lifestyle and homewares brand
Haus have just launched a
beautiful new textiles
Modern Vintage –
and loomed fabrics
from Thailand, India
The collection features
some exquisite vintage fabrics,
all with a focus on fine detail
and a balanced, neutral palette
– customers can mix and match
pieces with confidence as all are
We have 5 x £50 vouchers to
give away to be used on the
T&C’s and exclusions apply.
Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition
keyword ‘MODERN VINTAGE’
Leading flowers and
gifts delivery service,
Floward, is delighted
to offer 8 lucky readers
the chance to win an
arrangement from its
new letterbox collection.
A beautiful flower
Established in 2017 by CEO
Abdulaziz B. al-Loughani,
Floward is a full-fledged
e-commerce solution that
offers prime fresh-cut flowers
sources from the best growers
and farmers around the world
which are arranged locally by an expert team of florists and
designers. Following a successful launch into London at the
start of the year, Floward is expanding its distribution across
the country, to offer a next day delivery service which allows
customers to place orders by 12pm and guarantees that their
flower arrangements will arrive the next day. What’s more, as
part of Floward’s worldwide CSR programme, 1% of all annual
revenue generated by sales will be donated to the Mental Health
Closes 10/11/2021 - Competition keyword ‘FLOWARD’
An enriching life like no other
Which school should my child attend?
Choosing the right educational
environment for your child is one of
the most important decisions you’ll
ever have to make as a parent. But if
you’re looking for a boarding school
for your child, how do you choose
the right one? Robin Fletcher, CEO
of the Boarding Schools’ Association
‘How do I choose the right boarding school
for my child?’ That’s a question we’re asked
more often than any other at BSA. And
when you consider the UK boarding market
is one of the largest in the world, with more
than 450 schools of all sizes and types, in
all sorts of different locations, there isn’t a
But having such a wide range of choice can
really work to your advantage. If you know
exactly what to look for in a prospective
boarding school, your child will enjoy a
first-class education and gain invaluable life
skills, boost their confidence, become more
independent, and have the best possible
preparation for adult life.
The first key piece of advice I would always
offer when choosing a school is that it must
be a joint decision between you and your
child: they have to be happy with the final
As I’ve mentioned, one thing there isn’t a
shortage of in the UK boarding sector is
choice. You need to think about the best
location for your child: will they be best
suited to a large school attended by several
hundred students, or a smaller school
with fewer pupils? Would a school in the
middle of a city be better for them, or would
they prefer somewhere more rural? Would
they be best suited to a single sex or coeducational
school? Also, will full boarding
be the best option for them? Schools can
offer full, weekly or flexi-boarding, so you’ll
need to decide which works best for you
and your child. And is an academic school
right for them, or one that focuses perhaps
more on sport, music or more vocational
Once you’ve considered all those factors
and you’ve got a shortlist of schools you’re
interested in, I’d always strongly encourage
you to visit those schools in person. This
is the best way to tell if it’s right for your
child or not, as it will be clear very quickly
whether they are comfortable there.
Making that final choice of the right
boarding school for your child can be a
lengthy process, but taking the time to get
your decision absolutely right is crucial.
Boarding will not suit every child or family
- but for the right child, in the right school,
it can offer an enriching life experience like
For further information about the Boarding
Schools’ Association, or to search for a
boarding school, please visit www.boarding.
org.uk. In 2020, BSA also teamed up with
Bulldog Publishing to launch Schoolplaces.
org, a dedicated live information resource
for schools, parents and education agents.
For more information, please visit www.
Image: Courtesy of Highfield and
6 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
“We really feel part of something special.
Discover an exceptional, family-friendly
boarding school for your daughter
Open Mornings and personal tours
available throughout the year
An independent boarding school in Berskhire
with boarding and day places for girls aged 11-18 years
T: 01635 204701 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
NINJAS NEWBURY 01635 745072 | email@example.com
London Road,, Newbury,, Berkshire RG14 2BX | codeninjas.com
BUY 2 MONTHS
Call 01635 745072 or
SAVE UP TO
*Offer valid from 16/08/21
Available to new customers only
Awarded Best Co-Ed School
South East England
Transport service available
Day or weekly & full boarding options
Learn more at www.leightonpark.com
co-educational • independent • 11-18 years • Reading, Berks
Hallo'welly'ween at Welly Park
Join us for an action packed October Half Term!
Visit our website for full details
Education & Training Awards
8 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
At Jubilee Day Nursery’s
sister setting, Jubilee Gems
Nursery’s class of 2021 have
The event was set in the nursery’s 60 acres of beautiful private
land and it was a gloriously sunny day. Every child looked
incredibly smart in their graduation gowns and hats when they
went up to collect their personalised framed graduation picture
from our nursery manager Sian. Cheers from their family and
friends could be heard all across Padworth!
Gems then continued the days celebrations with a Sports Day,
having all the traditional races. There was a relay race, egg and
spoon, and obstacle course, however, with it being such a hot
day, the fastest race must have been to the box of ice creams!
The staff at Jubilee Gems wish them all the best at their new
schools and hope they have had lots of magical childhood
memories which they will cherish.
Jubilee Gems is a term-time nursery, located in the heart of the
countryside in rural West Berkshire, offering a flexible range
of sessions to suit you and your child and care is available for
babies and children from three months to five years of age. Gems
are all about ‘learning by doing’ through real experiences, giving
all children the time and space to explore, discover and use
their imagination both indoors and outdoors in a language-rich
environment with our caring and highly skilled practitioners.
To find out more information
about the care opportunities
we can provide for your child,
please send us a message or
give us a call. We are always
happy to help are delighted to
show people around. You can
be sure of a warm welcome!
School Road, Padworth,
Berkshire, RG7 4JA
0118 983 4018
Give your child a truly unique experience...
• From 3 months to 5 years old
• Set in 60 acres of woodlands &
gardens, with a working farm
• Experts in Forest School learning
• Freshly prepapred food
• Funding available
0118 970 1600
Rectory Rd, Padworth, RG7 4JD
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 9
WARES AND GIFTS
USE CODE LIVE15
FOR 15% OFF
Richard Bertinet is well-loved and well-known for being the
UK’s baking ‘godfather’. His books about baking and his breadmaking
courses alike have delighted audiences for many years.
Sally Thomson talks to Richard to discuss books, baking and
BBC Maestro, where you can catch him offering the ultimate
online bread-making course...
HOW ARE YOU ON THIS GLORIOUS
Making croissants with this weather! It’s
a bit hot in the kitchen but it’s nice to be
open again so all is good.
YOU ARE DOING WONDERFULLY
WELL AT THE MOMENT APART
FROM THE FACT WE HAVE ALL
BEEN THROUGH THIS RATHER
INTERESTING YEAR THINGS SEEM TO
BE GOOD WITH YOU.
We opened in April and we have just tried
to push everything we could this year and
last year. It’s very busy.
SO, PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO COME TO
YOUR CLASS NOW?
Yes, we reopened in April.
SO, THESE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS
HAVEN’T CHANGED YOUR PLANS?
No, we are Covid compliant and can still
have the same number of people.
In Bath 40% of the customers come
from the rest of the World so Japan, The
States and Australia. Obviously, they
cannot come to Bath at the moment so
we have a massive backlog of people
wanting to come when they can
YOU NEED TO BE CLONED SO THAT
THERE IS ANOTHER ONE OF YOU
AND YOU CAN KEEP UP!
That’s true but there is only one of me
WHEN YOU FIRST CAME INTO BATH
IN 2005 DID YOU EXPECT YOUR
CAREER TO TAKE OFF AS IT DID?
I knew the concept we had was good and
if it worked out, we would have success.
When I first moved to Bath a lot of local
businesses gave us 6 months to survive
but that made me more determined to
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 11
On his baking classes
for children: “It’s good
fun and nice to see
them smile when they
try something that they
haven’t done before. I
think it’s a shame that
so many schools don’t
use cooking and baking
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR
COOKERY SCHOOL - IT’S GOING
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH BY
THE SOUNDS OF IT?
Well, the school has been going since
2005 and since then we have won a lot
of awards, we then sold the bakery and a
lot of things have happened in 15 years.
The school is so busy it’s a worldwide
attraction which means we bring a lot of
people to Bath. We won the South West
Tourism Award two years ago due to the
number of people that we attract to Bath.
We have a few guest chefs coming in as
well, but the core classes are with me
learning about bread making, as well as
what I write about in my books.
YOU HAVE SO MANY ACCOLADES
AND EVERYBODY ENJOYS WHAT YOU
HAVE BEEN DOING.
We pride ourselves on the services we
give our customers and also the way I
teach is quite unique - I’m very hands on.
Our school is quite small so it means that
I can spend time with everybody.
I SEE THAT YOU OFFER CLASSES FOR
CHILDREN, HOW DO YOU FIND THAT?
Teaching children was always very
important to us and we also work with a
lot of local schools in the area and teach
some classes plus talk to the children.
It’s good fun and nice to see them smile
when they try something that they haven’t
done before. I think it’s a shame that so
many schools don’t use cooking and
I SEE THAT YOU ALSO WORK WITH
Yes, Ping does classes for me. She
teaches Malaysian cooking plus stuff
from my book.
YOU HAVE PRODUCED 6 BOOKS SO
FAR. HAVE YOU GOT ANYMORE IN
THE PIPELINE OR DO YOU NOT HAVE
I’ve got a couple of ideas but it’s getting
the time to do it and I like to write a book
for the right purpose not just for the sake
of it so I need to get the time and wait
until things get back to normal.
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL?
Until we get all our backlog of people
who couldn’t attend last year’s classes
hopefully then we will be back on an
even keel but not yet I’m afraid. We are
open and running and there are some
businesses that can’t do that so in a way
we are one of the lucky ones.
I HEAR THAT YOU WILL BE GETTING
INVOLVED WITH BBC MAESTRO.
Yes, it’s been amazing. We have just
finished editing. I absolutely loved it! It’s
a challenge to do live broadcasts, it’s
recipe lead and different from how I teach
in my classes, but it was well done. The
team were amazing.
YOU HAVE BEEN ON OTHER
COOKERY SHOWS SO DID YOU FIND
THAT THIS WAS A STEP UP?
Yes, I’ve been on Saturday Kitchen and
on James Martin’s show so it’s a different
buzz being filmed live and you have to be
mindful of what you do and say.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WILL BE
It’s specifically about bread and things I
like to do at home. It goes from making
brioche, sourdough to bagels, all that
kind of stuff and things to give people
the confidence to bake at home and feel
that they learn something. It’s going to be
good. The production team was amazing,
and I can’t wait for it to launch.
YOU ARE FROM BRITTANY HAVE
YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO GO BACK
We went to France last year, Provence.
We have a house down there and
managed to visit just before lockdown.
*At the time of the interview there was
uncertainty regarding travel to the city
BBC Maestro with Richard Bertinet
is available now at bbcmaestro.com.
The course costs £80 for 23 episodes
including written class notes for
each one. An additional bonus festive
episode is expected to launch later in
the year exclusively to subscribers.
12 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
& PISTACHIO LOAF
150g good quality dark chocolate chips
75g roughly chopped pistachios
Zest of 2 oranges
50g mixed peel
1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
125g unsalted butter straight from the
125g full fat milk
3 medium eggs
500g strong white bread flour (plus extra
15g fresh yeast
45g caster sugar
10g fine sea salt
FOR THE GLAZE
Pinch fine sea salt
Mix the chocolate chips, nuts zest
and mixed peel in a bowl and stir in
the Cointreau if you are using it. Place
the cold butter between 2 sheets of
greaseproof and bash it with a rolling pin
to soften it and break it up into smaller
pieces (without warming it up).
Put the milk and eggs into the bowl of a
food mixer and then add the flour. Break
up the yeast and add to one side of the
bowl. Add the sugar and salt on the
other side of the bowl.
Mix on a slow speed for 4 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium for another
2 minutes then add the butter piece by
piece until it is all incorporated. Continue
mixing on medium speed for 10-12
minutes until the dough comes away from
the sides of the bowl.
Stop the mixer. Add the chocolate and
pistachio mixture to the bowl and mix
for no longer than 30-40 seconds on
the slowest speed – you don’t want the
chocolate and nuts to become mushy.
Lightly flour your worksurface and turn
the dough out onto the work surface.
Form the dough into a ball and then place
into a lightly floured bowl. Cover and
rest for about 45 minutes until just under
double in size.
Lightly flour the surface again, turn out
the dough and divide into 10 equal pieces
of about 110g each. Form each piece
into a ball and then press gently into
cake or loaf tins until they are full. In the
picture I have used tiny tins that only take
one ball but if you use a larger one you
will have a finished loaf or two that will be
perfect to tear and share. Whether you
have one or two will depend on the size
of your tins. Cover and leave to prove
for about 1 hour until just under double
While the dough is proving, pre-heat the
oven to 190°C and beat the eggs and
pinch of salt for the glaze. Brush the top
of each loaf with the egg glaze and use a
pair of scissors to snip into the dough for
Place the tins on a baking tray and
put into the pre-heated oven. Turn the
temperature down to 180°C and bake for
15-20 minutes until golden.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 13
When the darker nights set in, you
just want some go-to comfort food
recipes - and here, Waitrose has
delivered! Find more recipes at
Prep time: 20 minutes + marinating
Cooking time: 20 minutes
8 British chicken thigh fillets
3 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Shawarma
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 lemons, juice of 1, 1 cut into wedges
1½ tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Sumac
½ large cucumber
250g Yeo Valley Organic Greek Style
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
15 mint leaves, finely shredded, plus extra
4 Waitrose & Partners Hand-Stretched
50g pomegranate seeds
1-2 handfuls wild rocket
Slash each chicken thigh a few times,
concentrating on the thicker parts of the
fillet. Season, then rub all over with the
shawarma paste. Cover and chill for 20
minutes (up to 2 hours). Meanwhile, mix
the onion, lemon juice and sumac with a
good pinch of salt. Set aside until ready
To make the sauce, coarsely grate the
cucumber and put in a sieve. Toss with a
pinch of salt and leave over a bowl for 10
minutes to drain, then gently press with a
wooden spoon to extract as much liquid
as possible. Tip into a bowl and stir in the
yogurt, garlic and mint.
Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Cook
the chicken for 5-8 minutes on each side
(depending on the fillets’ size) until the
juices run clear and there is no pink meat,
then set aside for 2 minutes. Clean the
pan then use it to griddle the flatbreads
for 30 seconds on each side. Arrange
them on plates and top with the chicken,
pickled onion, pomegranate, rocket and
the cucumber and yogurt sauce, finishing
with the extra mint leaves and lemon
wedges for squeezing over.
This recipe also works well with lamb or
pork steaks instead of chicken (adjust
cooking times accordingly).
COTTAGE PIE WITH
Prep time: 20 minutes plus standing
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
500g British beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 Oxo Beef stock cube
1 tbsp tomato purée
1½ tbsp plain flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 thyme sprigs
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Heat ½ tbsp oil in a large sauté pan or
casserole dish over a high heat. Add
the beef and fry, breaking it up, for 4-5
minutes, until browned. Remove from the
pan, add the remaining 1⁄2 tbsp oil, lower
the heat to medium and fry the onion,
celery and carrot with a pinch of salt for
10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile,
dissolve the beef stock cube in 500ml
Return the beef to the pan, add the
tomato purée and cook for 1 minute, then
stir in the flour and fry for 1 minute more.
Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce and
2 thyme sprigs and simmer for 25-30
minutes, until the beef is coated in a thick
gravy. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes
as thinly as you can and put in a bowl.
Cover with just-boiled water from the
kettle; set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and
use kitchen paper to pat dry thoroughly,
then lay out on more kitchen paper to
Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
Melt the butter. Tip the beef and gravy
into a medium ovenproof dish. Toss the
14 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
potatoes with the butter and leaves from
the remaining thyme sprig. Season and
arrange in circles over the beef. Bake for
30 minutes until bubbling hot and the
potatoes are cooked through. Stand for
10 minutes before serving.
Scatter grated cheddar over the potatoes
halfway through baking to give the pie a
nice cheesy crust.
CHEWY BROWN SUGAR
Prep time: 15 minutes plus chilling
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 12 - 14
200g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
300g Billington’s Dark Brown Soft Natural
Unrefined Cane Sugar
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp fine salt
1 large British Blacktail Free Range Egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Put the butter and sugar in a large
saucepan and set over a medium heat.
Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until
the butter has melted and the sugar has
dissolved. Set aside off the heat for 5
minutes to cool. Meanwhile, mix the flour,
baking powder, bicarbonate of soda,
cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
With a wooden spoon, beat the egg
and vanilla into the butter-sugar mix,
then beat in the dry ingredients until
completely combined. Transfer to a bowl,
cover with a plate and chill for at least 2
hours (up to 24 hours).
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4;
line 2 large baking trays with parchment.
Leave the cookie dough out of the fridge
for 15 minutes to warm up a little. Roll
into 12-14 balls (about 65-70g each)
and space out well on the baking trays
(the cookies spread quite a lot during
cooking, so bake in more than 2 batches
if needed). Bake for about 15 minutes,
turning the trays halfway if needed, until
deep golden and cracked on top. Cool
for 5 minutes on the trays, then transfer
to a wire rack to cool completely.
Ovens can vary in temperature, so after
about 12 minutes, keep an eye on your
cookies. Once they look set and golden
at the edges and start to crack on top,
CHERRY & ALMOND
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
425g can black cherries in light syrup
3 tsp Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Cane Icing
Sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 medium British Blacktail Free Range
250ml whole milk
½ tsp almond extract
8 slices sliced brioche loaf
2 tbsp unsalted butter
150g pot vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
Put a sieve over a small saucepan and
drain the cherries. Set the cherries aside
and simmer the juices for 5 minutes until
reduced. Add 1 tsp icing sugar and the
drained cherries to the saucepan and
simmer for another 5 minutes, until the
cherries are coated in a glossy syrup.
Meanwhile, set your largest frying pan
over a medium-highheat. In a large,
shallow dish, whisk the egg, milk,
almondextract and remaining 2 tsp
icing sugar. Add 4 brioche slices to the
mixture, soaking on each side for about
45 seconds until they’ve absorbed plenty
of the mixture but aren’t too soggy. Add
1 tbsp butter to the frying pan and, when
foaming, fry the brioche for 4 minutes
on each side until golden and puffed up.
Arrange on plates while you prepare the
remaining slices in the same way, frying in
the remaining 1 tbsp butter.
Serve 2 slices of brioche per person. Top
with a spoonful of vanilla yogurt and the
warm cherries and syrup (reheat briefly
if necessary). Scatter with the toasted
almonds and dust with a little icing sugar
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 15
Motoring Journalist Sue Cooke test drives
the electric new Volkswagen ID.4...
The pandemic has resulted in the average
driver reducing their mileage by 42% over
the last year according to a survey by
Kwik Fit, automotive servicing and repair
company. My daughter is one such driver,
stopping her 70 miles each way commute
and working from home and enjoying it
so much she is hoping this will continue.
Clocking up fewer miles could also
encourage owners to change to a
different power source to drive their car.
Volkswagen has seen an increase in
pure electric car sales. JATO Dynamic’s
European data shows that VW has
become the second largest EV seller,
bringing a stream of capable, net carbonneutral
electric family cars to market.
I road tested the ID.4 this week, which
is extremely attractive. The family SUV
can be personalised with contrasting
black roof as a no cost option, or an
eye-catching silver style pack, which
adds silver to the roof trim, roof rails and
rear pillars. It is also possible to select
white interior styling elements and a white
steering wheel, at no cost. The ID.4 Pro
Performance has a towing capacity of
up to 1,000 kg and a folding tow bar is
This compact SUV has just been
awarded World Car of the Year 2021.
Judges praised the environmentally
friendliness of no direct emissions as
well as the innovative features. I like
the optional head-up display which can
project important information onto the
windscreen such as turn arrows of the
navigation system. The driver sees this
information as a three-dimensional,
staggered image at an apparent distance
of three to ten metres in front of the
vehicle. When Adaptive Cruise Control
or the optional Travel Assist is active, the
vehicle in front of the ID.4 is highlighted
with a luminous marking in the head-up
display from a certain speed to be able to
keep the required distance.
The other very attractive feature is that
the vehicle is always up to date receiving
regular updates and new functions “over
the air”. Volkswagen will be the first
provider in the volume segment to offer
this from the Summer.
There is a range of different variants
which currently number eight. The entry
level model City sets the pace for the
equipment offered across the electric
SUV’s range, with standard-fit features
including LED headlights and tail lights,
10-colour ambient lighting throughout
the car’s interior and a 10-inch Discover
Navigation Pro infotainment system.
Driver assistance systems include Front
Assist, Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise
Control in addition to convenienceboosting
assistance features like traffic
sign recognition, a rain sensor and
parking sensors front and rear.
About to launch is the first fully electric
high-performance model, the ID.4 GTX
representing a new sub-brand of sporty
all-electric models that introduce allwheel
drive to the ID. range.
Safety won the ID.4 the top score of five
stars in the Euro NCAP (European New
Car Assessment Programme) safety test,
for the protection of adult occupants,
children and vulnerable road users, as
well as in terms of assistance systems.
The barriers to EV ownership are quickly
eroding with more mileage capability,
more infrastructure and faster charging
times. The ID.4 ‘Pure’ and ‘Pure
Performance’ specifications can both add
up to 137 miles of range from a 100 kW
rapid charger in 30 minutes.
And I enjoyed my week’s driving in the
Volkswagen ID.4 so much, I actually
increased the number of miles I usually
Facts at a Glance
Model: VW ID.4 fully electric City Pure
Price on the road: £32,150
Power and torque: 52kWh, 148 PS
Range: 213 miles (WLTP combined)
Performance: 0-62mph in 10.9
seconds and on to a top speed of 99
16 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
The all-electric ID. family
Book a test drive today
Our range of incredible all-electric cars feature
everything you love about Volkswagen. Enjoy long
ranges, fast charging and revolutionary design alongside
innovative technologies that massively reduce your
carbon footprint as you drive.
Whether it’s the fun and dynamic performance of the
ID.3 or the power and flexibility of the ID.4 SUV, the
future is ready and waiting.
Search ‘Marshall Volkswagen Newbury’
Marshall Volkswagen Newbury
The Triangle, Newbury Motor Park,
Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 7HT
Telephone: 01635 592049 marshall.co.uk/volkswagen
ID.3 electric range, up to 336 miles with 77kWh battery; Electricity consumption, kWh / 100km (combined): 16.3 - 15.5; C02 emissions (combined), g/km: 0; Efficiency class: A+. ID.4 electric range. up to 310 miles with 77kWh battery.
Electricity consumption kWh/100km (combined) 18.0; C02 emissions (combined),g/km: 0; Efficiency class A+. Figures shown are for comparability purposes and were obtained after the battery had been fully charged. Mains electricity
required for charging. Only compare electric range figures with vehicles tested to same technical procedures. Figures may not reflect real life driving results.
THE VIEW FROM THE BOUNDARY
We catch up with local estate agents to find out a little more
about the most tumultuous year any of us can remember...
The last 18 months have caused many of us
to re assess how we live and perhaps more
pertinently to this feature, where we live.
Quality of life, surroundings, the need to work
from home and perhaps the desire to spend
at least some of the week still doing so, all
of these factors have changed the housing
market, locally and nationally. We thought
that our key local estate agents would have a
view on this – and we were right...
As we enter the traditional
summer holiday period,
the sun is shining across
West Berkshire’s housing
Buyers continue to seek
homes that offer more
space as a result of Covid-19
and ensuing lockdowns. This,
together with a lack of available
stock, has generally resulted in a
strong seller’s market.
With well-priced properties often selling almost as quickly as
they become available, the result has been competitive bidding,
strong premiums and, ultimately, price growth. This has been
further compounded by a reluctance among some people to
bring their property to the market, not only while the risks of
Covid-19 were high, but also because of the little choice in what
they can buy.
The search for more inside and outside space continues to
support village and rural areas, where annual price growth was
8.7% during the second quarter of 2021. This is supporting a
strong market throughout Berkshire.
Furthermore, and according to our recent survey of buyers and
sellers, the commitment to moving home over the coming six
and 12 months remains firm. Whilst this tells us that demand
will remain strong, it also means more stock is expected to
come to the market as social distancing measures are lifted.
As stock constraints gradually ease, the rate of price growth is
expected to soften, particularly given the tapering of the stamp
duty holiday in England that is expected to take some of the
urgency out of the market, though the prime markets will be less
affected. The realignment of buyer and seller expectations will
therefore be vital in order to maintain market momentum.
You can call Liz and the team on 016 3527 7700.
Liz McLean is Head of Residential Sales at Savills Newbury
EDWARD TAYLOR, FINE & COUNTRY,
MARLBOROUGH AND DEVIZES
It’s certainly been a frenzied property market of late.
Unprecedented levels of demand continue to outstrip
availability, and the resultant upwards pressure on
pricing has left some vendors rubbing their hands
with glee, only to find they are faced with the issue
of now buying their new property in the same hugely
competitive market. Zoopla reported that in the first
half of 2021 available homes for sale was down 24%,
whilst demand rose 26%. They also report the average
time to sell (SSTC) of just 22 days, nearly half the 42
days it took in May 2019. The Nationwide House
Price Index reported a 13.4% annual increase in prices
in June 2021, due at least in part to the stamp duty
holiday up to £500,000.
For those of us fortunate to live in Wiltshire, we all
know the many reasons buyers will be attracted to
move here from elsewhere in the UK. More flexible
working patterns have meant that many can now
relocate from London and the South East, putting
further strain on housing supply.
The next 6 months? It’s impossible to say precisely,
but if demand remains so strong and supply of new
properties to the market continues to be constricted,
then it is almost inevitable that prices will continue to
rise well into 2022 and beyond.
To book an up to date market
appraisal of your property
call Fine & Country
Devizes on 01672
511 211 or email
is an Associate
at Fine & Country
18 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Grade II* Moated
Property in Beautiful
M4 (Junction 11): 3 miles, Reading: 6.5 miles
A wonderful family house in a private moated
setting with enchanting gardens and grounds.
Reception hall/sitting room, drawing room,
dining room, family room, kitchen/breakfast
room, cloakroom, cellar, principal bedroom
with ensuite bathroom, 5 further bedrooms,
gym, swimming pool, tennis court, outbuildings
with integral triple garage.
About 3.1 Acres I Guide £2.65 million
Head of Residential
Image Hypnos Beds
LEADING BRANDS AT
“Over 25 Mattresses to try from leading
manufacturers such as Hypnos, Kaymed,
Mlily, Dormeo and many more...”
FREE LOCAL DELIVERY
FREE ONSITE PARKING
OLD BED / MATTRESS DISPOSAL AVAILABLE
New shop now open!
Unit 1, 23 Salisbury Road, Amesbury, SP4 7AW
Thatcham: Unit 9, Wyvale Garden
Centre, Bath Road, Thatcham,
RG18 3AN • Tel : 01635 897665
Devizes: l & 2 Windsor Drive, Devizes,
SNlO 2TH • Tel: 01380 887943
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 19
Get Ready to Burn
When the nights draw in, there’s nothing like
cosying up in front of a woodburner but knowing
what fuel to burn is key to creating this ambience
as well as ensuring the fire burns safely and
efficiently without smoking, reducing the risk of
releasing harmful pollutants into the atmosphere...
New government legislation means that when we’re ready to
light our fires this year, we need to use wood that’s certified and
labelled as Ready to Burn. Ready to Burn woodfuel gives a better
burn because it’s proven to have a lower moisture content of up
to 20%, so it burns with less smoke than wetter wood, which in
turn also helps reduce pollution from burning.
Alternatively, if you use Manufactured Solid Fuel (MSF) - a fuel
manufactured from coal, wood, plant-derived materials, waxes or
petroleum products with other ingredients – these must also be
certified and labelled as Ready to Burn, proving that they meet
specified limits for smoke emissions and sulphur content.
The Ready to Burn certified fuel scheme is backed by Defra
which appointed the non-profit industry organisation HETAS
to certify Manufactured Solid Fuels (MSF) and its subsidiary
business, Woodsure, to certify woodfuel.
Helen Bentley Fox, Director at Woodsure, said: “Using fuel that’s
Ready to Burn will reduce particulate emissions and improve air
quality, these fuels will also burn more efficiently and are better
for your appliance and chimney, helping to reduce maintenance
and fuel costs.”
How to fuel a safe, efficient and
environmentally-responsible burn this autumn:
1. If you’re buying fuel for immediate use, look for the
Ready to Burn label. To find a trusted retailer visit
www.readytoburn.org or www.hetas.co.uk
2. If you buy a large amount of wood in bulk, suppliers selling
wood in over 2m3 must provide customers with advice on
how to store and season the fuel so that is it dry to burn
3. If you buy woodfuel from a small volume supplier (those
selling less than 600m3 in a year) they have until 30 April
2022 to comply with the new rules, so you’ll need to make
sure the wood is properly seasoned before you use it.
Advice on how to dry wet wood and measure moisture
content can be found on www.readytoburn.org
4. Around 40% of chimney fires take place between January
and March, reduce the risk by making sure your appliance
is regularly serviced and chimney is swept.
Find your local HETAS Registered professional at
THEALE FIREPLACES (RDG) LTD
OVER 55 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE & EXCELLENCE
Theale Fireplaces specialises in the design and manufacture of highquality
fireplaces and surrounds and is the largest fireplace showroom
in the South. Visit our showroom to see our range of products. We are
Gas Safe and HETAS registered installers. We can help you every step
of the way, from visiting the site through to the design and installation
of your fireplace or stove. If convenience is important, many stoves
and fires can be supplied in gas fired versions fitted by our own Gas
Safe approved staff. We serve customers in Newbury, Marlow, Ascot,
Windsor, the Cotswolds, Oxford and, in fact, the entire country.
US FOR A NO
• We have over 55 years of experience in the fireplace industry
• Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will listen to your requirements and help
you choose a product that best meets your needs
• We stock a range of quality products from leading brands
• We can supply and install a range of made-to-measure fireplaces, fires, stoves
and chimney systems just for you!
• We provide a professional and reliable delivery and fitting service
• We are chimney specialists
• Full HETAS and Gas Safe registration
Theale Fireplaces Reading Ltd | Mile House Farm, Bath Road,
Theale, Reading RG7 5HJ | 0118 930 2232
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.theale-fireplaces.co.uk
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 21
BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO
BRICKWORK & MASONRY
We specialise in the repair and restoration
of period and listed buildings.
Established for over thirty five years, we regularly
work with conservation architects, structural engineers
and organisations such as Natural England and SPAB.
Our portfolio ranges from large scale professionally
managed projects to domestic repair works.
CARPENTRY & JOINERY
Telephone: 01491 598 898
Adam Frost is an
television presenter and
Best known for his
successes at RHS Chelsea
Flower Show, he is
passionate about inspiring
adults and children
alike to create their
own gardens and watch
hedgerows spring to life.
Sally Thomson caught up
with him to discuss all
WE WERE TALKING ABOUT GEOFF
It was originally in North Devon Parks
department that I did my apprenticeship
and then I went to work for Geoff when I
was 21 years old and spent an amazing
mind blowing, not that I think you realise
it in your early 20s working 6-7 years with
Geoff until he passed away in 96.
AN INSPIRATIONAL MAN I SHOULD
Yes, looking back I don’t think you
realised what he was talking about, peat
free gardening, Organic gardening, stop
ripping up limestone pavements and
destroying the countryside all the things
that were way before their time really. We
are now 30 years on and we’ve only just
decided to ban peat. I think in reality he
set my gardening moral compass.
HIS SON HAS GONE INTO THE SAME
LINE OF WORK ALSO?
He had 3 sons but Nick the middle son
was left the garden and nursery, so he’s
got Barnsdale plants and gardens.
TELL ME HOW THE GARDENER’S
WORLD EVENT WENT AT BEAULIEU?
I had a lovely weekend! I’d be lying if I
didn’t say I was a bit nervous. I had just
had my 2nd injection It was the first time
I had done anything in a public arena for
about 18 months! You realise that all the
shows are now your general catch up.
WITH THE PANDEMIC DID YOU FIND
IT STRANGE NOT BEING OUT &
ABOUT WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
Definitely, We run a school as well so
we had to close that. I did some stuff on
zoom like most people but that’s a very
strange experience. I’ve never spent
so much time at home or in the garden
through the summer months with my wife
and kids which was a mixed blessing and
gave me time to stop which I don’t think
I’ve done since I was 16.
I BET YOU MISSED THE VIBE OF
BEING AT CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW?
I was due to go back and do a garden
in 2020 so that went but it looks we will
be able to go back in September and
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 23
do some filming but I’m not building
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT BUILDING A
GARDEN FOR CHELSEA?
It can be 12 months to 2 years planning
but at one point I was doing them back to
back finishing one then moving straight
onto the next one. But it’s fascinating, it’s
how I built my career.
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR
FIRST CHELSEA GOLD?
If I’m honest, I think I was slightly
oblivious to what they actually meant. My
dad was a landscaper and he built early
John Brooks gardens in the early 70s.
Recently I met Professor David Stevens,
garden designer, who also worked for
John Brooks. We were talking about
Chelsea and he said that my dad would
have been a few gardens along from
where we were. David also taught me a
lot about design in that sense.
WHEN YOU START A DESIGN IS IT
FROM A THOUGHT OR ARE YOU
PLANNING IT IN ADVANCE?
It depends on whether its for a client.
I think ultimately gardens are about 4
things; people, space, plants and place.
It’s normally one of those that I tap into
first and it might be a bit of landscape
it might be an individual picture I’ve
seen it might be the shape of something
whatever it is that gives me an insight
into a person or if it’s a show garden what
particular design will drive it that’s how I
start and then create from there.
DO YOU THINK BEAULIEU WILL BE A
REGULAR EVENT NOW?
I think so, I walked in and thought
what a glorious piece of landscape
and the moment I walked in the gate it
had a good feel. People really enjoyed
themselves and as a setting it had quite a
lovely intimate feel to it, even the stages
had an open canopy, and everybody
was sensible and had plenty of space.
The standard of the displays was really
good and Hilliers had gone there and
built a garden, so it was great that you
had something there of Hilliers quality. I
think a positive out of the last 15 months
is that people have slowed down have
connected or reconnected with what’s
outside their back door or in the area.
I’ve seen a report saying we now have
3 million new gardeners. Everybody
you talk to in the industry says that
the hunger from last year is still there
which is great. I just hope in a way that
stays. I think even the people that knew
gardening was good for you physically
and mentally, even for me I don’t think I
realised how important it was to my life.
I FIND IT VERY THERAPEUTIC AND
GOOD FOR THE SOUL
It’s interesting that we are seeing
statistics people moving out of cities
and into the countryside and are wanting
bigger gardens it wasn’t that long-ago
people were downsizing and didn’t want
a big outdoor space and this time has
now changed that.
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE AN
RHS AMBASSADOR? WHAT DOES
Yes, I’ve done that for quite a few years
now. Basically, I help them with stuff
looking at helping youngsters to engage
more through events and I did a lot
of work a while back with Homebase
creating apprenticeships so that’s how it
started. I also do a lot of community stuff
with RHS and I’m just about to start a
new project which I can’t say too much
about which will be good. I have travelled
all over to schools, events for them. I
was brought up just outside London and
wasn’t the best behaved, I’m dyslexic
and obviously I’ve done OK and I think
that’s why they wanted me to help.
YOU ARE AT THE NEC IN THE
SUMMER WHAT WILL THAT INVOLVE?
I normally go from stage to stage and
talk all things gardening and there’s
different themes on different stages from
talking about ‘Grow your Own’, ‘Unusual
edibles’, soil and compost so all sorts
really. What I love about that show is you
have the gardens and displays but it also
interlinks with food and because its at the
NEC if we do have poor weather people
can get inside. Because it’s such a large
venue everything will feel alright.
DO YOU DO ANY JUDGING IN YOUR
I’ve been asked, and I’ve done bits and
pieces, but I don’t really like to just turn
up and judge other people’s work.
SO, AT CHELSEA FOR EXAMPLE ARE
YOU THERE WHEN THE JUDGES
You have a 2 minute conversation the day
before to explain if anything has changed
or there have been any adjustments
to the design. They then arrive at your
garden anytime between 7:30am and
9:30am on the day and you must be away
from your garden. Then you have another
24 hours until you find out the result.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT
YOU HAD AN APTITUDE FOR
I don’t think I did really, I love what I do I
think it just happened. I was talking to a
Robert Hillier at Chelsea and I said “Can
you remember the conversation we had
in 2015 where you said the BBC want me
to do some presenting as they think I’m
half decent”. He said “Are you sure that’s
what you want to do?”. And I said “I don’t
know but I’ll give it a go!”. And here we
WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE OUR
READERS TO DO TO THEIR GARDENS
Don’t disengage with the garden, I think
we get to September the kids go back to
school and people pack up their gardens.
I think our environment has changed so
much that you can’t month to month
garden anymore, you have to react to the
month you are in. September, October
and even going into November we can
still have some cracking days and only
have our first frosts going into December
so I would say to anybody there is so
much glorious flower colour foliage
colour stem colour to be had and the light
is different so the atmosphere is different
you can still wrap up and enjoy it just
don’t disengage. Don’t chase perfection
just enjoy the moments.
Adam Frost, along with other gardening
celebrities, will be appearing at the NEC
in Birmingham from Thursday August 26
to Sunday August 29.
For ticket information, please visit
24 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Yew Tree Garden Centre, Ball Hill, Newbury RG20 0NG
01635 255533 | Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays
• From simple door
replacements to complete
• Trusted reputation
- installed by local
We are open for business for pre-arranged
individual appointments only.
PLEASE CALL TODAY TO BOOK.
• Choose from a large
selection of doors,
worktops and appliances
• 96 showrooms nationwide
86-88 Chapel Street,
Thatcham, Berks RG18 4QN
(Free parking at rear)
Call Lesley for
a free estimate:
THE UK’S #1 KITCHEN MAKEOVER EXPERTS.
AVERAGE SCORE 9.98/10
GO ONLINE TODAY.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 25
NOVa fine arts...
We had a chat to Oliver Deeley, co-founder of
Nova Fine Art about art in general – and their
exciting new gallery in Marlborough.
You have existing galleries in Royal Leamington Spa and
Marlow, so what brings you to Marlborough?
We adore the area and of course, the exciting new additions to
Marlborough high street - just like us fearlessly independent.
Art is such a personal thing; some people may be
nervous about how to choose a work of art to live with –
what advice would you give to a first-time buyer?
Don’t be told what to buy just because it’s in fashion… just
like when you buy fine fragrance, buy emotivity and from
You know all of your artists; this must give you a
unique prospective on their work and inspiration…
And finally, what are you most looking forward to in
your new venture?
Continuing to disrupt the art market, it’s time for the little
guys to have their time.
Find out more at novafineart.com
Nova Fine Art is fast becoming the latest gallery network to rival the
large corporations on the high street. We combine experience of
buying, selling and creating artwork so our approach is a holistic one
and we are committed to integrity, fairness & professionalism in all
our dealings with our clients, creators & colleagues alike.
Very much a family run and passion lead business, Marlborough is the
third addition to our bricks and mortar offering, along with our superb
website. Just as our name suggests, we are continually looking at ways
to keep our gallery walls fresh, cutting edge and exciting.
Join the team at any of our locations, Royal Leamington Spa, Marlow & Marlborough
to discover it for yourself or get in touch email@example.com
Please contact us for more information:
110 Warwick Street, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 4QP • 01926 298 110
79 Hight Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1AB • 01628 563 801
137 High Street Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1HN • 01672 555810
Instagram @novafineartofficial • www.novafineart.com
26 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
GIVE A GIFT
that means a little more
The period of lockdown has probably given
many of us the opportunity to explore
the furthest recessed of our attics. If the
experience was anything like mine the
finds would probably be limited to cobwebs,
spiders (big spiders) and boxes of old
curtains – but I did find a lovely Victorian
parasol too! Whatever you found we know
a man who will know its value, I had a chat
to Thomas of Special Auction Services about
his TV experiences and the joys of running
an auction house during lockdown - and
exciting times ahead…
gift boxes - customisable and
beautiful, from £10
available from hauslife.co.uk
TV programmes about auctions and auctioneers seem to have
an enthusiastic and continuing following – how did you first get
in front of the camera as opposed to behind the rostrum?
I was asked many moons ago by my manager back in 2000 if I
wanted to be the auctioneer on a new show called Bargain Hunt
with David Dickenson. I bought a new suit, shirt and tie and thought I
looked the business, however then David walked in looking amazing!
I can’t watch those four shows back again, I was so rude about the
teams buys but in hindsight they were actually very good. After that I
was asked to be an expert, so the rest is history.
The past year has been very difficult for so many businesses,
how have you overcome the challenges?
They have been difficult - we’ve had to rearrange the saleroom to
put in screens for live online bidding and take other precautions. The
positives have been huge as it has been an opportunity to open out
to a much wider audience. Auctions can now be viewed in person up
to a week, and sometime as much as two weeks, before to give all
our client space and time to look at all of the lots.
We are happy to welcome buyers to come back to the auctions,
however, at the moment we are still politely asking buyers to bid from
home while the virus is still present.
Servicing & mechanical repairs
Air conditioning / climate control
Pre MOT checks and repairs service
Registered MOT testing station
Fleet management Cars or Vans
Electric / Hybrid vehicle servicing
We have been carrying out lots of remote online valuations over zoom
and WhatsApp or simply via phone calls. We are now happy to see
clients in our saleroom for valuations but we do ask clients to make
an appointment – Wednesdays in Newbury and Thursdays in Dudley
What is the hottest item in the saleroom currently?
Items which are hot are the really unusual ones.... we have the most
fabulous French gold and steel miniature musical sewing clamp
circa 1820 from Paris which is just an amazing piece. We also have
fabulous collectibles such as a fighter jet seat..... the list goes on.
You have had so many amazing items under your gavel – what
one thing would you have like to keep, might it be that Indiana
It has to be that! To be honest its the reason I became an auctioneer.
Indiana Jones was my boyhood hero and that hat was just so special.
And finally, as we come out of lockdown what are you most
looking forward to for Special Auction Services?
To be honest just seeing our clients for valuations and doing what we
do best and helping those clients who need us.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 27
Care with compassion
See the difference Porthaven makes at Falkland Grange
Book a visit at porthaven.co.uk or call 01635 926971
NURSING • RESIDENTIAL • DEMENTIA
Falkland Grange Care Home, Monks Lane
Newbury (Sat Navs RG14 7RW)
WEEDS The beauty and use of 50 vagabond plants - by Gareth Richards
Weeds are nature’s first responders, healing the wounds that man
inflicts upon the earth. They valiantly bring life back into even the
most polluted land, pushing green shoots of raw ecological power
through tarmac and concrete on abandoned sites.
The cheerful daisy in the pavement crack - or even, dare it be said,
the buddleia that turns derelict buildings into butterfly havens.
Countless plants that we dismiss as weeds have amazing powers.
Every weed has some redeeming qualities.
When the chips are down, weeds come to the rescue. You cut
yourself miles from home on a country walk, there are several
weeds you can reach for to help stop the bleeding - and they even
have antibacterial properties too. We might have lost much of our
countryside but a select band of plants paint the grey concrete
green again. They are a defiant echo of the wild.
In an age of extinctions, weeds offer hope: their very existence is
continual proof of nature’s resilience. Yet we are so often blind to
their beauty. “The notion that a plant is a weed is the most effective
barrier for stopping us looking at it closely” wrote acclaimed
naturalist Richard Mabey first published almost 50 years ago.
Does being native matter? Our perceptions are very much a
question of time: many of our most-loved wildflowers such as
field poppies and cornflowers are technically just as ‘non-native’
as Japanese knotweed, yet because they’ve been here for many
hundreds of years we’ve grown to appreciate and even love them.
Pinning down the native ranges of weeds is a tricky business. Often
they’ve been around mankind for so long that their precise origins
are unknown. Furthermore, the ever-accelerating rate of climate
change means that in Britain our definition of native and nonnative
(one that seeks to freeze our flora into what it was like many
thousands of years ago) is looking more irrelevant by the day.
Only humans make
weeds. Nature abhors
a vacuum. Bare soil
exists rarely in nature,
yet we strive to create
it by ploughing,
digging our gardens
buildings and roads.
If we hadn’t created
there wouldn’t be
nearly so many
weeds. They are
simply trying to
heal our scars on
Gareth Richards is
Digital Features Editor at RHS
and delivers the RHS podcast. Gareth has provided
horticulture expertise for a leading nursery, the BBC, ITV and Bauer
The Royal Horticultural Society is Britain’s premier gardening charity,
promoting horticulture and helping gardeners by providing inspiration
through its shows, gardens and expertise.
RHS Weeds - The Beauty and use of 50 vagabond plants is
published by Welbeck
MAKE LIFE EASIER
• Large range of Mobility Aids • PPE
• Hire services • Wheelchairs • Stairlifts
Our stores always welcome visits for consultations regarding advice
on choosing the right mobility equipment or service.
Shoes and slipper
The Mobility Store
7 Clive Parade
Swindon SN2 1AJ
56 George Lane,
Marlborough SN8 4BY
Unit 1, The Forge
4-6 Devizes Road
Wroughton SN4 0RZ
Rise and recline furniture
Mobility scooter repairs
FREE LEVEL ACCESS PARKING AT ALL STORES
THE BOURTON ON THE
WATER MOBILITY STORE
Bourton on the Water GL54 2AR
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 29
Katie Thomson shares tips
for getting your financial
ducks in a row for a happy
Retirement planning is a multi-faceted
process which evolves over time - to
have a comfortable and secure future,
you have to have the means to fund
it. Fewer people have access to the
guaranteed income that comes with a
final salary pension, and with longer to
wait until eligibility for the state pension,
it’s pertinent to start planning as early as
possible for the retirement you want. The
better prepared you are now, the better
your retirement will be.
There are many strands to retirement
planning, and much of it depends on
your stage of life. It’s important to seek
advice from a registered financial planner
who can help you make the most of your
There are some handy way points to help
you get a grasp on where you are and
what you will need - here’s a checklist of
things to consider:
Understand what your retirement
income is likely to be:
You will be adding to your pension fund
during your working life, but it’s important
you get a handle on your various pension
pots to forecast the actual figure you will
have access to.
Check your state pension:
The rising state pension age can have a
real knock-on effect to your retirement
planning - a state pension forecast will
help you to gauge how much you’re on
course to get from the government.
Get an understanding of your
Having an idea of your expenditure will
help you plan longer-term. Your living
costs are likely to be a lot lower than
in other phases of life - you might be
mortgage-free and you don’t have the
same costs for commuting, recreation or
childcare for example.
You may wish to improve your home
or go on some amazing trips, so it’s
important you know you have the
financial reserves to do this.
When should you start drawing a
You don’t have to stop working to draw
down your pension - as long as you
are over the age of 55 - but be aware,
the sooner you start dipping into it, the
sooner the pot will deplete.
How much will retirement cost?
This is the golden question, and really
depends on the level of comfort or luxury
you are looking for in your autumn years.
A recent Which? study found that the
average retired household (those living
alone or as couples) spent an around
£2,170 per month - this is covering all
the basic areas of expenditure and some
luxuries like European holidays. Those
looking for a more luxurious lifestyle
including longer-haul trips and new cars
every five years would need to allow
for approximately £3,400 per month, or
£41,000 per year.
Once you have a framework for the
amount you’ll need, and what you are
on track for saving, you also need to
consider how you will access your
pension pots - these might be state
pension, a final salary pension and a
money purchase/defined contribution
With your defined contribution pot,
such as the one you might get in the
government employee scheme, you can
draw the entire pension pot in one go,
but this will mean it’s entirely down to
you to make the money last and you’ll
invariably pay a substantial tax bill. Most
people with these pensions will opt for
income drawdown or an annuity, or a
combination of both when it comes
taking money out of their pension.
With careful planning and accurate
forecasting, your retirement can be
something to really look forward to, but
it is essential to make an assessment of
your position as early as possible and
use the advice of experts to make your
money work harder for you.
30 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
PEARL HOUSE SHOWHOME
IS NOW OPEN
Our exciting new development right in the heart of
Newbury, close to the station and just minutes from the
High St has opened its doors for you to view.
Pearl House brings luxury, style and
independent later living for those
looking for a lifestyle that makes you
feel safe and secure. With 24-hour
concierge and social spaces that
include a library, lounge, bar area
and restaurant, serving breakfast,
lunch, and light evening meals, just
a step away from your own home.
Residents can also relax and enjoy
the private landscaped gardens and
expansive first floor terrace.
Come and take a look at the
spacious one and two bed
apartments and penthouses – most
come with generous terraces or
patios. Kitchens are equipped with
Siemens appliances, the luxurious
en-suite wet rooms are all on
one level and are furnished with
sanitary ware by Villeroy and Boch
and Hansgrohe fittings. Bedrooms
are also fitted with high quality
wardrobes and carpet.
Call us on 01635 551 229
or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Minerva Publications - August – Half Page Editorial - 153x110mm - v1.2.indd 1 10/08/2021 18:35
ENJOY LUXURY INDEPENDENT LATER LIVING
• Fabulous central Newbury
• Light and spacious one and
two-bedroom apartments or
• Generous patios & terraces
• Private landscaped gardens,
• Just a short walk to the station
and town centre
• Restaurant, club lounge
• Guest Suite
• 24/7 concierge and
• Your security and
safety is our priority
Prices start from £275,000 (Other charges apply)
Please contact email@example.com
or call 01635 551 229 for information or make a personal appointment
WE CAN ASSIST YOU WITH HELP TO MOVE AND PART EXCHANGE